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Fox News back on top in second quarter of 2008

NEW YORK — Fox News is poised to reclaim the title of the most-watched cable news network in the key advertising demographic in the second quarter of 2008.

The cable channel attracted the most 25- to 54-year-old viewers in prime-time this quarter, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data, drawing an average of 346,000 in that age group through Tuesday.

CNN, which was buoyed to first place last quarter by the presidential primaries, is back in second place with an average of 301,000 viewers in the demographic most sought after by advertisers. MSNBC is in third with 269,000. (Final numbers will be available next week.)

CNN’s win in the key demographic in the first quarter of 2008 marked the first such victory for the cable news network in more than six years, and its success with political coverage animated executives.

Bill Shine, Fox News’ senior vice president for programming, said his network regained the top spot in the second quarter because “we do better television than anybody else.”

“In the first quarter, CNN benefited from an intense Democratic race, but I think in the second quarter, after they spent millions and millions on sets and talent and graphics, it wasn’t enough for them,” he said.

Still, CNN’s viewership in the second quarter was up 24% in the key demographic, compared with the same period last year, while Fox News was down 1%. MSNBC’s audience was also up, spiking 46% year-to-year.

“The facts say it all: CNN is up 24% in prime-time, while Fox is down,” said CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson, who added that the network did not build new sets for its political coverage. “The trends are clearly in our favor.”

Fox News rejected the characterization that its audience was eroding, noting that its viewership was essentially flat.

“The only current trend is CNN losing their momentum and battling MSNBC for second place,” Shine said.

Overall, Fox News continues to pull in the largest cable news audience, drawing an average of 1.6 million prime-time viewers so far this quarter. CNN is in second with 977,000, while MSNBC pulled in 690,000.

-- Matea Gold

Comments () | Archives (69)

I agree. Fox news does do better television than anyone else. However, if I wanted to watch a soap opera I'd watch NBC. CNN and MSNBC are the best when it comes to actual NEWS.

It disappoints me to be reminded that the majority of so called television watchers still hear what they consider news on the Fixed News Channel. In my view, MSNBC demonstrates excellence in depth of coverage with appealing news hosts. When they go to ads or when I thirst for a different view, I switch to CNN, which I consider a close 2nd to MSNBC. The Fixed News channel, to me is a pathetic joke. I also check regularly with the MSNBC News web site as well as listen, watch and read news on the Democracy Now website and of course, The Huffington Post. I also check daily, the English version of Aljazeera on their web site and the Asian Times. Some of the best news of what's happening here in our own backyard only appears on sites such as Aljazeera or The Asian Times, although the MSNBC or BBC web sites are terrific too.

MSNBC would be better if they weren't so biased. They have practically made Obama into Jesus. The station would be 100 times better if they got rid of Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews.

Viewers are turning to CNN and MSNBC to get their news because FOX has proven itself to be less of a news operation and more of a right wing propaganda outlet. People are turned off by bias in all areas of the media but Fox News and its over-the-top right-wing slant and divisive reporting does nothing to Unite the country during a time of war and economic collapse.

how sad for America.

I watch foxnews , not because I like it but , to hear the lies. Once I hear the lies I then , know what is really going on. I like to know what the enemy is sayiing and thinking. Basicially I watch for what they are not saying and, I can afford to watch Fox , I get my information else and , I always cross check what they say to , make sure its true because, they very rarely tell the whole truth. They either leave stuff out or add untruths, it depends on what their agenda is. The other reason I watch them is , they love war and , I'm intrested in finding out where, the next American will be.

I cannot believe that so many people in the U.S. are such morans. Do they honestly believe that the tripe that FOX news produces is actually news. I still remember this bile from my teen years growing up in the British Isles. Rupert Murdock did his dirt on the worker's in his printing plant in London. I will never forget his breaking that union, as my Dad was a union organizer. I have nothing but contempt for Murdock or anyone who pays lip service to him.

Me a progressive liberal so irritated with the MSNBC coverage turned to Fox because they were the only ones covering the Democratic Primary's objectively and the Kabooki Dance of CNN and MSNBC was pathetic. I have had it with the Edward R Murrow wanabee Olberman he's nothing but in love with himself

Amazing: FOX news or propaganda channel with non-sense stories which have no realtion to the current events ...stories on rape, personal problems of people etc etc ...well may be FOX tailor its news to the cluless citizens with no thinking involved ...Sad for US....

I never rely on one news source, and I don't think most people do.

TV, radio, newspapers, web and especially our friends...most of us easily find variable content, on the different subjects, we follow.

Cable news has yet to beat Sponge Bob in prime time.

MSNBC and CNN are serious news network. FOX, with rare exceptions, is number 1 in distortion and manipulation with undisguised GOP/Nixon bias. They appear to invest more money in Live Television which is more appealing than documentaries reruns (CNN) and catch a predator like shows (MSNBC). But the seeds of great TV News are in the hands of MSNBC & CNN. When those at FOX in the shadows of Nixon decided to stop smearing propaganda memos and encourage independent thinking, FOX in addition to good ratings will acquire respect and credibility. FOX can champion conservative causes but not shameless lies and politics of hate.

I don't understand how this could be. I thought it was proven that only 28% of Americans are demented!

“we do better television than anybody else.” -- too bad that "television" passes itself off to the viewer as a legitimate source of news.

They may do better television, but they don't serve up real news. They serve up nothing but propaganda. There is a reason why Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the radical right go to Fox for interviews.

Why is this is news? The top 3 cable networks are viewed by 3.2 million people in prime time? A trivial number. There are 300 million people in the US, about half of whom could watch. That means less than 2% are watching the "big 3". Pathetic! Who cares about the lame media except the media itself? NOBODY!!

Guess what! I gave up TV news this week and feel 100% better!! No kidding, no more Chris, Keith, Greta, etc. What a relief, I can tell you honestly they were beginning to get to me. Do you realize that in England they just tell you the news? They don't manipulate you into trying to see things their way, they just TELL you what happened that day. I figure if anything cataclysmic happens, someone will run out into the street yelling like crazy and we'll know then.

I am advising everybody to try this - see if you don't feel better not knowing who the worst person is for just two days. Even Colbert and Stewart should do something different. you can pretend to be conservative for just so long, Steven, then it gets a bit old.

How very sad!

Fox News is notorious for peddling outright lies, and daily outpourings of fabricated statistics (mostly from Bill O' Reilly) that supposedly back up his bogus reports. It is very, very troublesome when we hear that Fox leads the way in viewing audience because propaganda does work.

How can any intelligent person respect Fox, especially as "fair and balanced???"

The owner Murdoch and his manager Roger Ailes are practically old right wing extremists. Murdoch has said he pushed Fox and his other US papers to use their influence, in story bias, in not showing the costs of Iraq in deaths, wounded, and massive spending [which you'd think conservatives would care about if not lives].

If CNN is dow at all it's because MSNBC has stepped up to the plate and put some some analysists on, and have become good at making all too easy fun of the Republican Party, which many of it's own peole are running away from, as McCain does from Bush.

Sen.Obama is using rather small donations to not be owned by lobbys, like McCain clearly is. He's done well that way but still needs more to fight the fat cats who will throw money into a smear campaign against him over the next few months.

80% of Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction under Cheney/Bush reguime. EVERY LIE Cheney told this country, was sold to the public via FOX NEWS.
How that channel has any viewers, only shows 28% of America is too stupid to admit they bought every lie.

How stupid is the americans people?? Watching Fox = propaganda = GOP channel.

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